Allied Warships

HMS Usk (i) (N 65)

Submarine of the U class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassU 
PennantN 65 
Built byVickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered4 Sep 1939 
Laid down6 Nov 1939 
Launched7 Jun 1940 
Commissioned11 Oct 1940 
Lost3 May 1941 
History

HMS Usk (Lt. Godfrey Paul Darling, RN) sailed from Malta for a patrol off the north west coast of Sicily on 19 April 1941. Anti-submarine activity was intense and Usk was ordered to alter her position. What happened to Usk is not known but she is most likely mined in the vicinity of Cape Bon some time after 25 April 1941. She was reported overdue on 3 May 1941.

 

Commands listed for HMS Usk (i) (N 65)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Peter Ronald Ward, RN17 Aug 19407 Mar 1941
2Lt. Godfrey Paul Darling, RN7 Mar 19413 May 1941

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Notable events involving Usk (i) include:


The history of HMS Usk as compiled on this page is extracted from the patrol reports and logbooks of this submarine. Corrections and details regarding information from the enemy's side (for instance the composition of convoys attacked) is kindly provided by Mr. Platon Alexiades, a naval researcher from Canada.

No logbooks of this submarine are available. Therefore it is not possible to display maps of her daily and attack positions.

This page was last updated in June 2013.

10 Oct 1940
HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) departed her builders yard at Barrow for the Clyde area. She was escorted by the Brisitsh ASW trawler HMS Lady Madeleine (T/Lt. P.H. Potter, RNR). (1)

11 Oct 1940
HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) arrived in the Clyde area for a period of trials and training. (2)

28 Oct 1940
HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) departed the Clyde area for Barrow. (2)

29 Oct 1940
HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) arrived at Barrow. (2)

4 Nov 1940
HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) departed Barrow for Portsmouth. (2)

6 Nov 1940
While on passage from Barrow to Portsmouth HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) is ordered to patrol 20 nautical miles west of Ushant, France making this her 1st war patrol. It was thought that the German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer might be making for a port in Western France. (3)

11 Nov 1940
HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Portsmouth. The patrol had been uneventful except for the bad weather encountered. (3)

21 Nov 1940
HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) departed Portsmouth, escorted by by the Brisitsh ASW trawler HMS Kingston Amber (Skr. J. Flett, RNR), for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the English Channel. (3)

30 Nov 1940
HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Portsmouth. Only small vessels had been sighted. (3)

11 Dec 1940
HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) departed Portsmouth for Gibraltar. She was to proceed towards Malta to join the Mediterranean Fleet. (2)

14 Dec 1940
HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) was ordered to divert to a patrol (with HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN), HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) and HMS Thunderbolt (Lt. C.B. Crouch, RN).) in the Bay of Biscay to intercept U-boats on their way to the Gironde making this her 3rd war patrol. (1)

18 Dec 1940
HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) was ordered to continue her passage to Gibraltar. (1)

23 Dec 1940
HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (2)

1 Jan 1941
HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) departed from Gibraltar for her 4th war patrol. She is to take up a patrol position with HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) and HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) to the West of Gibraltar off Cape Spartel. This was most likely to intercept Vichy-French warships that might have departed Casablanca for the Mediterranean. (4)

2 Jan 1941
HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) was recalled to Gibraltar where she arrived later the same day. (4)

7 Jan 1941
HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) departed Gibraltar for Malta. She was also to patrol between positions 38°12'N, 07°46'E and 38°20'N, 09°20'E to cover the passage of the EXCESS convoy. (2)

17 Jan 1941
HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) arrived at Malta. Usk had suffered engine damage (amongst other defects) during the passage from the U.K. to Malta. This was possibly due to sabotage at her builders yard at Barrow. (2)

3 Feb 1941
HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) departed Malta for her 5th war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Tripoli, Libya. (3)

9 Feb 1941
HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) attacked an enemy convoy with two torpedoes near Tripoli, Libya. The patrol report of Usk does not mention the attack position and there is no log available.

According to Italian sources these ships appear to have been two of the liners of the Esperia convoy which had just sailed from Tripoli for Naples (the convoy consisted of the troop transports Esperia (11398 GRT, built 1920), Marco Polo (12567 GRT, built 1912), Conte Rosso (12567 GRT, built 1912) and transport Calitea (4013 GRT, built 1933) escorted by the Italian destroyers Luca Tarigo, Lanzerotto Malocello, Freccia and Saetta on passage from Tripoli to Naples).

1936 hours - Surfaced and saw two large merchant vessels to the South-West steering North. Range was 3500 to 4000 yards. Started attack.

1941 hours - Fired two torpedoes at the leading ship but they however did not run straight and missed. Usk then dived. No counter attack followed. (3)

14 Feb 1941
HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) ended her 5th war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (3)

19 Apr 1941
HMS Usk (Lt. G.P. Darling, RN) departed Malta for her 6th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Marettimo Island.

Usk had been repairing at Malta for nearly two months after being damaged by a near miss during an air raid.

25 Apr 1941
HMS Usk (Lt. G.P. Darling, RN) sent her last signal at 2100 hours. She reported that she was proceeding to patrol off Cape Bon, Tunisia due to intense A/S activity in the Marettimo area.

According to Italian sources she may have been sighted by the destroyer Aviere who reported a submarine 20 miles north of Marettimo at 0930/24.

26 Apr 1941
HMS Usk (Lt. G.P. Darling, RN) was ordered by Captain S.1's signal of 1254/26 to form a patrol line with HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN), HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN), HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN), HMS Ursula (Lt. A.J. Mackenzie, RN), HMS Upright (Lt. R.S. Brookes, DSC, RN) and HMS Truant (Lt.Cdr. H.A.V. Haggard, RN) in position 37°00'N, 11°00'E - 000° - 30'-40'. However, a destroyer had been observed a large patch of oil at 2025/26 and she was told that she was authorised to withdraw to the northwest, near Cape Bon. She never answered and is believed to have been sunk most probably by mine off Cape Bon.

The Vichy French freighter S.N.A. 7 (2679 GRT, built 1922) on her way to Sousse, was torpedoed or mined near Cape Bon at 0720 hours on 27 April. Could this have been the work of HMS Usk? It is not impossible but, on 24 April, the Italian torpedo boat Simone Schiaffino was mined and sunk on a minefield about 7 miles northeast of Cape Bon and it was believed that S.N.A. 7 had been the victim of one of these mines. It is also probable that Usk was lost on the same minefield. There were no survivors.

Sources

  1. ADM 199/373
  2. ADM 199/2573
  3. ADM 199/1881
  4. ADM 199/400

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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